D. Wayne and Laura Lukas had a big stakes winner over the weekend, but it wasn't at Del Mar or Saratoga. The training team won Saturday's Ed Burke Memorial Futurity (AQHA-I) at Los Alamitos with Quarter Horse Check Him Out.
Check Him Out was bred in California by Zory Kuzyk, who raced his stakes-winning dam, Check Her Twice. Kuzyk is also a co-owner in Check Him Out. The parentage on his sire's side is where Lukas comes in--he trained his Thoroughbred sire Hennessy. Hennessy, a son of Storm Cat, won the 1995 Hopeful (gr. I) and Sapling (gr. II) Stakes for Bob and Beverly Lewis. (Thoroughbreds require both parents to be registered by The Jockey Club to race. Quarter Horses allow one parent to be another breed.)
Check Him Out won the quarter-mile futurity by a nose over Bee Dashing and Agouti, who dead heated for the place. The winner earned $200,382. He has raced five times and won all but one. The 2-year-old has raced exclusively at Los Alamitos, where he is trained by Laura Lukas.
Both Lukases noted Storm Cat's influences on Check Him Out. "You don't have to worry about this horse running out of energy," said D. Wayne Lukas after the race. "He has a different level of octane than other horses because he has Storm Cat (Hennessy's sire) blood running through his veins."
"He has too much energy," added Laura Lukas. "You never know how hard it is to train a Storm Cat horse until you work with one. You can take everything you know about training and add about five pages after working with one of them."
The Ed Burke Memorial was the third stakes win for the Lukases at the current Los Alamitos meet. "There's certainly a sense of accomplishment here," Laura Lukas said. "This horse has been a project and it feels great to win a big race like the Ed Burke."